How to niche your coaching business
Taking a scattergun approach to reaching your market is a strategy that rarely works well. After all, if you’re aiming at nothing specific, then ‘nothing’ is likely what you’ll hit. If you’re a coach, better to have a specific target in mind and aim accordingly. Which brings us to the question, how to niche your coaching business?
However, trying to niche your coaching business, or any business for that matter, can feel daunting. Often, the assumption is that you’re narrowing your market, limiting your business. But in fact, niching isn’t about restriction, it’s about focus. To use an analogy: when Ford (or VW, or Seat, or whoever) design a car, do they try to create a vehicle for everyone? No, it’ll be an SUV or a runaround hatchback or a pickup truck, etc. depending on who they hope to sell it to. Each of those vehicles addresses a specific set of needs.
It’s the same with establishing yourself as a coach with a specialism: you’re focusing on a specific group of people and their particular goals.
Why bother? Because then you can focus all of your attention, services and marketing on this individual group of people. Which will save you time, money, and a lot of energy.
It’s not about getting ‘stuck’
The good thing about having a niche is that you don’t have to pick one and stick with it forever. (It’s your business and you’re in control, remember?) You can always change your focus. Or, having chosen a niche and grown your audience, you can add a second niche offer once the first is up and running. Again, no restrictions just focus.
Real success comes through having a defined niche. Think about your marketing – you can’t pitch yourself as all things to all people; you simply don’t have the time or resources. Niching gets you focused on your business and also makes you more attractive to clients who know what they want and need.
Finding your niche: where to start?
A common answer to the question, What’s your niche? Is: “We work with small businesses.”
Sorry, that’s not a niche. The FSB estimates there are around 6 million small businesses in the UK. That’s more than 99% of the total business population. You need to get a bit more specific.
When you tell someone you’re a coach, what do you mean? Are you a business coach, a financial coach, a health coach, an executive coach, a nutrition coach, a life coach, a career coach, a fitness coach, a relationship coach…?
And each of these – as you no doubt know – are broad areas, each containing various niches. How do you find yours?
If you’re faced with a blank slate, think about your passion. Try imagining you won’t get paid for your coaching until the client sees results. Who would you be comfortable continuing to work with until they got those results? Not just anyone, that’s for sure.
Which group of people, which kind of issue is it, that you really want to work with? Now we’re getting to your niche.
Finding your niche: narrowing it down
If you’ve identified (or already had) your broad area of interest and expertise, it’s time to narrow it down. Who can really get some value from what you offer? Who will see results quickest? What makes them a good fit for your business? Use that to define your niche.
For example, if you’re a business coach, what’s your ‘specialist subject’? Is it starting a business? How to attract (more) clients? Maybe you’re an expert on the art of the sale? Or perhaps you enjoy the challenge of scaling up and expanding a business?
Within each area there are various niches. Once you have yours, you have a clear focus and target for your marketing messages and content. You can speak to that audience. Offer what will resonate specifically with them and their needs.
But… “My niche will be too small!”
It’s a common worry – especially for small businesses and freelancers. But the key here is to focus on who you can (and want to) work with, not the service you’re offering. After all, the basics of the coaching process are common to most niches – it’s not so much what you do as how you do that shifts depending on the audience. That’s how you add value for your niche clients.
The trick is to niche your marketing not your product. That way, you can probably work across several niches with the same product, confident that they want what you have.
It’s about resonating, not reducing
Don’t think of niching as reducing your audience or client base, think of it as homing in on the clients your offer really resonates with. Once you have that clear focus, the more effective your marketing (and probably your coaching!) will be.
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